A couple of years ago, the primary school cafeteria in Ntandi, Uganda consisted of a tin shack with an open fire that was used to cook for all of the students. The children sat on the ground to eat their meals, beneath the trees, for minimal shelter from the hot sun or pouring rain (depending on the season). Last year, Epikos Church raised funds and built a dining hall at the school. It provided tables and chairs in an indoor setting for the students to sit, along with more stoves for cooking. Then, earlier this year, we raised money to provide lunches for over half the primary school students, who can’t afford to buy lunch. We noticed on our 2012 mission trip that many students were not eating at lunch time and inquired about this. We were told that these students were not eating because their families could not pay the lunch fee. We immediately returned home soliciting donations and within a short period of time, funds were raised to ensure that all children could eat!
Now, we continue to progress in our efforts in feeding the children there. Last month, we ordered a new stove to send to the dining hall! We went through a local company (Cottage Grove, Oregon) that makes energy efficient stoves for third-world countries. The reviews on the stove are excellent, and we believe that it will save them a great deal of time as well as money. We are looking forward to testing out how this stove works for them, and if it is as successful as we expect, we will consider buying more of them. Thank you for being a part of our mission to feed the children in Ntandi!
For more information on this stove, check out the website for the company that manufactures them: www.instove.org
Update: While we were very excited to bring this stove to Ntandi, it did not create the excitement and usage we were hoping it would. The cooks expressed that they actually enjoy the time it takes of prepping the food and sitting around conversing while the beans boil and the posho cooks. Also, the stove was reported to be too small to cook the amount of food needed for 1000 children. There have been many times that we may try to encourage efficiency and/or better time management but we have learned that the American way is not always the best way in Uganda. Often we are the ones who learn from these experiences. Ugandans are huge on community and one may argue that quality time spent with others should not be sacrificed for efficiency. Definitely gets your wheels turning. Below shows a photo of the current cooking situation at the primary school on the left and the right is the kitchen at the secondary school in dire need of new construction.